SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Cash is King and LC Racing’s Mischevious Alex will look to return to winning form in Saturday’s Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens presented by Runhappy, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds.
Trained by John Servis, the Into Mischief bay captured the Parx Juvenile in November to launch a three-race win streak that included scores in the Grade 3 Swale in February at Gulfstream and the Grade 3 Gotham in a loaded 11-horse field at the Big A in March.
Last out, off a more than three-month layoff in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens presented by Claiborne Farm, Mischevious Alex finished an even fourth behind returning rivals No Parole, Echo Town and Shoplifted. Servis said he may have overprepared the talented bay for his return to racing action.
“I might have done a little too much with him. I wanted to make sure he was tight enough and I was getting after him pretty good, but maybe he was just a little flat to be honest,” said Servis.
Servis said the lack of a target during the suspension of live racing at many tracks during the COVID-19 pandemic became a difficult hurdle for most horsemen.
“You didn’t want to be working on them when you didn’t know when they were going to start back,” said Servis. “They were in the idle position for a long time. I’m sure the horses were getting as bored as we were.”
Mischevious Alex worked a bullet five-eighths in 59.57 on July 13 at Parx and followed up on Monday with a three-eighths effort in 36.20, which Servis said will sharpen the colt up for his second start off the layoff.
“He’s training very well. The 59 and change was a good indication of his fitness and we came back and gave him a strong two-minute lick and then I just wanted to sharpen him up a little and put some speed back in him, that’s what the three-eighths was,” said Servis.
A quality field of 11 has been assembled for Saturday’s test but Servis said he is confident his horse is up to the task.
“He’s going to have to acclimate to the track pretty quick. He’ll get there the day before the race,” said Servis. “But he’s been in big fields before. It’s a solid field of horses and we’ll see who the best horse is on Saturday.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr., who leads all Saratoga riders in purse earnings with $1,019,619, was aboard Mischevious Alex when he bested a field of eight in the Swale and will guide the colt from post 5.
“I think he’ll be prominent. The three-furlong work showed that,” said Servis. “I’ll let Irad ride his race. He’s not doing anything wrong right now and I don’t want to mess that up.”
Servis said the multiple graded-stakes placed Diamond King, who won the Stymie at Aqueduct in March and was fifth last out in the Grade 2 True North at Belmont, is targeting the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic slated for August 28.
The 5-year-old Quality Road bay, who breezed a half-mile in 50.02 at Parx on Wednesday, finished second behind Runnin’toluvya in last year’s Charles Town Classic.
“He came out of the True North in good order. We freshened him up for a couple weeks and we’re cranking him up again and pointing for the Charles Town Classic,” said Servis. “He ran good there last year and likes the track. Timing-wise, I think it hits him right in the head.”
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Mischevious Alex in a work at Palm Meadows in May. Credit: Dana Wimpfheimer